Award-winning sports writer Frank Deford dies at 78

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) presents a 2012 National Humanities Medal to National Humanities Medal to writer Frank Deford during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama said Deford transformed "how we think about sports".

Frank Deford, a legend in the world of sports journalism, has died at age 78 in Key West, Florida, according to his wife, Carol Penner Deford.

The death was confirmed Monday by NPR, where Deford delivered commentaries for 37 years.

Deford began his career at Sports Illustrated in 1962 and left the outlet in 1989 to become editor of The National, a daily sports newspaper with a grandiose vision of providing in-depth sports news that ceased publication after only 18 months. NPR refered to Deford as the station's "philosopher of sports". Deford was known to millions for weekly commentaries he delivered on NPR's Morning Edition for 37 years. "Nothing has pleased me so much as when someone - usually a woman - writes me or tells me that she's appreciated sports more because NPR allowed me to treat sports seriously, as another branch on the tree of culture". His 1981 novel, Everybody's All-American, was made into a 1988 film directed by Taylor Hackford.

Sports columnist Bill Simmons paid tribute to Deford on Twitter with a link to his favorite story the sports writer wrote.

  • Salvatore Jensen